Delhi: Jet Airways’ management Tuesday informed the Civil Aviation Ministry that it would fly 40 more aircraft by April end and also assured that it would not ground any more aircraft, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said.
“By Monday or Tuesday, Jet and the lessors should come into an agreement on getting back the grounded planes. By the end of April, Jet would be able to fly 40 more aircraft. As on today, Jet is flying 35 aircraft,” Kharola said after meeting with the Jet management including representatives of the State Bank of India (SBI).
The meeting took place post the management takeover by the SBI and its subsequent Rs 1,500 crore capital infusion for emergency funding on working capital needs.
A total of 75 aircraft is envisaged by April end which is around 80 per cent of the Jet’s total aircraft previously, he said.
Elaborating on the operational part, Kharola said the financial part of the problem at the airline are being handled by the lenders led by the SBI and the Ministry is only looking at the passenger safety aspects so that they don’t have to face any hardship.
He also said the government is also keeping a close watch on the airfares and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has suggested to the airlines not to resort to predatory pricing.
On Monday, Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal stepped down and the SBI-led management took over the daily operations and cash flow.
With Goyal’s exit and the SBI leading a consortium of banks to take charge of the interim committee, Rs 1,500 crore was infused as emergency funding by the lenders to look at immediate issues.
Jet Airways has been struggling with cash flows for the past six months because of rising fuel costs and intense competition. It has even delayed payment to lessors, airport operators and oil marketing companies besides a part of its workforce to keep the company running.
As many as 40 of its aircraft were grounded due to inability to pay rentals. Its pilots and certain sections of the employees have been without pay for some months, leading the pilots to issue an ultimatum on salary payment to the erstwhile management.
The airline owes Rs 8,000 crore to the SBI-led lenders consortium. SBI expects Jet to find a new financial investor by the first quarter of next fiscal.
JET PILOTS WRITE TO SBI, SEEK SALARY DUES
Mumbai, March 26: Jet Airways’ domestic pilots body, the National Aviators Guild (NAG), Tuesday sought a meeting with State Bank chairman Rajnish Kumar over pending salaries, a day after the lenders took over the carrier founded by Naresh Goyal a quarter of a century ago.
The guild had last week announced that its over 1,100 -odd members would stop flying from April 1 of their salaries dues were not cleared and a clarity on the revival roadmap was not provided by March 31.
After lots of dilly-dallying, founder chairman Naresh Goyal and his board-member wife Anita, had Monday decided to step down and also pare their stake to 25.5 per cent from 50.1 per cent. The changes also saw its foreign partner Etihad halving its stake to 12 per cent and ceding a board position.
Under the new deal, banks, mostly led by state-run lenders, have would infuse Rs 1,500 crore of emergency liquidity to the airline and convert total debt of over 9,700 crore (including the fresh capital infusion) into equity worth 50.1 per cent at a price of Re 1.
With this, the public float in the airline has also come down 12.5 per cent from 25 per cent earlier.
“We humbly request to you to alleviate some of the hardships that we and engineers have been facing, by ensuring that the new Jet management does not further delay our pending salaries dues at the earliest,” NAG general secretary Tej Sood said in an e-mail to Kumar.
Thanking SBI for putting Jet on the road to recovery, Sood said, “we’d also be grateful if you could spare us some time and meet us to give us an idea of the recovery roadmap,” as this would help us rebuild our confidence and reassure us that the uncertainty is behind us.
The guild represents about 1,100 of the around 1,600 pilots of the airline, and many of them have reportedly got offers from rival Indigo and Spicejet.
The guild members have come together and stood behind the airline when it was passing through its worst period, he claimed adding, “despite the severe financial difficulties and uncertainties over our future that we have been facing over the past few months, we have not wavered.”
Sood also assured the new management of its continued support in reviving the once top airline.
HAPPY TO SEE PSBS BAIL OUT JET: MALLYA
New Delhi: Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya Tuesday said he was happy to see that public sector banks have bailed out Jet Airways, wishing the same was done for his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
In a series of tweets, he also suggested that banks should take his money to help save Jet Airways.
“Happy to see that PSU Banks have bailed out Jet Airways saving jobs, connectivity and enterprise. Only wish the same was done for Kingfisher.
“BJP spokesman eloquently read out my letters to PM Manmohan Singh and alleged that PSU banks under the UPA Government had wrongly supported Kingfisher Airlines. Media decimated me for writing to the current PM. I wonder what has changed now under the NDA Government,” he tweeted.
He also said that he invested over Rs 4,000 crore into Kingfisher Airlines to save the company and its employees.
“Not recognised and instead slammed in every possible way. The same PSU banks let India’s finest airline with the best employees and connectivity fail ruthlessly. Double standards under NDA.
“And I repeat once again that I have placed liquid assets before the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court to pay off the PSU banks and all other creditors. Why do the banks not take my money. It will help them to save Jet Airways if nothing else,” he added.